Marketing has always been about driving growth. And the formula for how to drive growth in today’s market has changed. As marketers, we were taught to master the funnel — a linear customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase. And using mass media, the key levers to drive growth were reach and frequency. We used demographics to approximate user intent and inform our targeting and creative.
But this model no longer applies to today’s customer journeys. In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data from a third-party opt-in panel. We found that no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more. Digital technology and mobile devices have put people in control. We all now expect an immediate answer in the moments we want to know, go, do, and buy. And all of these intent-rich moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us. In many ways, intent is redefining the marketing funnel.
Across verticals and categories, we’re seeing people narrowing and broadening their consideration set in moments we couldn’t have possibly predicted if we relied on that age-old marketing funnel. People are making decisions at every step of the journey: beginning, middle, and end.
Today, consumers are choosing to engage with brands that are relevant, helpful, and personal. People are demanding assistance, and the brands that offer it are the brands that will win.
As a consumer, you know this makes sense. As a marketer, hearing all of this might make you a bit uncomfortable. But there is a huge opportunity for your brand to influence the outcome. When people can count on brands, brands can count on growth.
It starts with predicting intent and anticipating needs throughout the customer journey.
It’s not an easy task. But it can absolutely be done. The formula for driving growth has changed. And predicting intent is now a critical part of the equation.
Source: Thygesen, A. (2018, September). Beyond the Traditional Marketing Funnel — a New Formula for Growth. Think With Google.
Additional information, including examples for specific consumer groups and brands here.
Editor’s Note: Allan Thygesen’s, Google, point of view: